Memorial planned July 14th for West Seattle author/photographer Karen Sykes

June 24, 2014 at 11:38 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

A public memorial has been announced for West Seattle-based hiking writer/nature photographer Karen Sykes. She was reported missing one week ago while hiking on Mount Rainier; last weekend, her daughter confirmed her death, and authorities subsequently determined she died of hypothermia. Ms. Sykes, 70, was known best for her books and columns about hiking, but we also knew her for the many West Seattle nature photos she shared via WSB in the past few years (see her Flickr gallery here). And now there’s word of a gathering to honor her memory:

Celebrate the life and legacy of Karen Sykes at the Seattle Mountaineers on July 14, 2014. Share stories and experiences with friends at 6:30 PM, with a program beginning at 7:00 PM.

Karen Sykes was an inspiration to many hikers as hiking companion, hike leader, columnist, guidebook author and photographer. Even though she is gone, she lives on in her work and in our hearts.

Please send photos of Karen Sykes for incorporation in a slide show to Heidi Walker at fotogirl.heidi@gmail.com

And don’t forget to share reminiscences of Karen at NW Hikers Trail Talk or at
mountaineers.org/blog/karen-sykes-shared-her-love-for-trails-with-thousands.

The Mountaineers is at 7700 Sand Point Way NE.

Update: Search over for Karen Sykes, West Seattle author/ photographer lost while hiking Mount Rainier

June 21, 2014 at 7:07 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 17 Comments

At Mount Rainier, the search for West Seattleite Karen Sykes, a prolific hiking writer and nature photographer, is reported to be over. Regional media says it was called off about three hours ago; posts on NWhikers.net pointed to Karen’s daughter Annette Shirey reporting on Facebook that she had been told her mother was found dead. She had commented on WSB last night that she was on her way here after getting word of the search.

No formal confirmation from Mount Rainier yet but KIRO TV’s Chris Legeros tweeted that “the medical examiner is here.” As noted in our first report Friday, Karen was an expert hiker who had written books about hiking and had been an outdoor columnist for multiple publications. We knew her mostly through her photographs – posted to Flickr with the handle “old desolate,” by which she asked to be identified when we published her photos on WSB. She was reported to have been hiking on the east side of Rainier on Wednesday with her partner Bob, with whom she lived in eastern West Seattle, when she went ahead on Wednesday but never returned to rendezvous with him. Search-and-rescue crews have looked on the ground and from the air these past three days. We will add official information when it becomes available.

SUNDAY MORNING: Authorities have reported recovering a body on Rainier and saying the person was female. This morning, Ms. Sykes’s daughter posted this comment on our previous story saying it was her mom.

MONDAY NOTE: The Pierce County Medical Examiner says Ms. Sykes, 70, died of hypothermia.

Update: West Seattleites run 80 Seattle stairways in 1 day!

June 21, 2014 at 10:05 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, WS & Sports | 13 Comments

This makes the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon sound like a walk in the park! From Jake Jaramillo of Seattle Stairway Walks:

West Seattleites Michael Yadrick, Doug Beyerlein, and others are running the stairways of Seattle today! Their route covers 100 km and gains more than 11,000 feet of elevation as it traverses 80 of Seattle’s major, 100+ step stairways. They started at Summer Solstice sunrise, 5:12 am in West Seattle at Brace Point. They hope to finish before 10 tonight in Queen Anne.

That’s Michael at right, leading the pack up the Thistle Street stairs in Gatewood/Upper Fauntleroy. Jake adds, “Andrew Lichtman, a stairway trekker from Los Angeles, has come up to walk the same route in two days, camping out along the way.” There’s a Facebook page about the event – see it here.

After hearing from Jake but before writing this, we also heard from Creighton, a friend of Michael, who he notes is a city ecologist mentioned here this spring for consulting on a Fairmount Ravine cleanup. Creighton adds that Michael is tweeting about this at twitter.com/yadrick and that there’s even GPS tracking, expected to work until 4 pm or so. We’ll keep an eye on it for potential updates here. Good luck!

9:56 PM NOTE: Jake reports in comments that Michael, Doug, and company made it within the past hour or so!

Update: West Seattleite Karen Sykes missing on Mount Rainier

June 20, 2014 at 10:27 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 31 Comments

10:27 AM: A photographer and writer from West Seattle is missing on Mount Rainier. If you don’t know Karen Sykes in person or by name, you might know her by her Flickr handle, under which we have run dozens of her photos here on WSB – old desolate.” Her friend Don Geyer e-mailed to say that today is the second day of a search-and-rescue operation for Karen; he says she “was separated from her hiking partner while hiking to Owyhigh Lakes on Wednesday.” According to Don, King County Search and Rescue, “along with other agencies, had 35 SAR personnel searching for her, with the help of dogs and two helicopters. (More search info is in this Tacoma News-Tribune report.) They resumed the search this morning at 8:00 am.” Karen is an experienced hiker who has written books including “Hidden Hikes of Western Washington” and also wrote a weekly hiking column for the Seattle P-I; this June 2004 column was about the area where she is being sought.

3:55 PM: The News-Tribune reports that searchers are still at work but are under orders to stop for the night by 9:30 pm.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Searchers are out again today, report our partners at The Seattle Times.

Memorial this Saturday for E. Eilene Powelson, 1919-2014

June 19, 2014 at 9:18 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

Friends and family will gather this Saturday to remember 94-year-old ‘Eilene’ Powelson, and are sharing this remembrance:

Evelyn Eilene Powelson, known to family and friends as “Eilene,” passed away on June 16, 2014 at Providence Mount Saint Vincent Nursing Center.

Eilene was born on December 1, 1919 in Bellingham to David and Anna Larson. Early in her life, along with her parents and two younger sisters, they moved from Bellingham to Everett and eventually settled in Seattle before the breakout of WWII.

She met her husband Corden Powelson at the Lutheran Service Center in downtown Seattle 1944. They married on May 3, 1946 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church (Seattle) with Dr. Stub officiating. Corden preceded her in death on September 19, 2000 after 54 years of marriage. Eilene was a member of Peace Lutheran Church for over 20 years.

Click to read the rest of Memorial this Saturday for E. Eilene Powelson, 1919-2014…

International competition again this year for underwater-robotics trio AMNO & CO

June 15, 2014 at 12:42 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

(AMNO & CO in regional competition, sped up 2.8x)
For the third year in a row, we’ve received an update from AMNO & CO, the local trio that competes in underwater robotics, and again this year, they’ve made it to the international level! Team member Alex Miller shares this update as he and his teammates get ready to head to this year’s competition in Michigan:

Last month, the local Seattle team AMNO & CO qualified to compete in the international level of the MATE ROV competition by winning the Pacific Northwest Regional. (For more information on the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center’s Remotely Operated Vehicle competition [go here].)

The MATE competition has teams build robots that can accomplish specified underwater tasks. For the team members – Alex Miller, Nicholas Orndorff, and Clara Orndorff – this will be the third consecutive time they have qualified.

At the end of June, the team will travel to Alpena, Michigan, where this year’s tasks revolve around the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which is home to many shallow-water shipwrecks. Not only must teams design and build high-performance vehicles; they also must create posters, write technical reports, and give engineering presentations about the design of their vehicle.

Click to read the rest of International competition again this year for underwater-robotics trio AMNO & CO…

Happening now: First day of the first-ever West Seattle Cup

June 14, 2014 at 1:45 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, WS & Sports | Comments Off

It’s a big game for a big world … and soccer excitement is happening at Walt Hundley Playfield with the West Seattle Cup, a community/family tournament organized to coincide with the start of the World Cup. We stopped by at midday, just as organizer Terry Kegel was starting the ceremonies scheduled a few hours after play began:

Young players were settling down to take a break, each in a colorful T-shirt for their team representing certain countries.

Earlier in the day, one team got a thrill – Kelly shared the following photo of Team Uganda with a Seattle Sounders player who’s from that nation, Micheal Azira:

Games continue until 6:15 pm, every 45 minutes in each division (8:45-6:15 tomorrow too) – click ahead to our photos of the schedule boards for the K-2 and 3-5 groups today:

Click to read the rest of Happening now: First day of the first-ever West Seattle Cup…

West Seattle scene: WS Women’s Golf Club & their ‘Derby Day’ hats

June 14, 2014 at 1:18 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, WS & Sports | Comments Off

Thanks to Debi Yeabsley from the West Seattle Women’s Golf Club for sharing photos from their Derby Day tournament this past week – specifically, the hat competition! Beth Jackson was “Best Hat” winner:

With appreciation for her fellow WSWGC members’ “creativity and enthusiasm,” Debi adds:

It’s an active and interesting group of women. All ages and abilities welcome. For membership info, e-mail Corinne Burr – ceburr@comcast.net

Memorial service Saturday for Joe Ceccarelli, 1964-2014

June 10, 2014 at 10:06 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

Friends and family of Joe Ceccarelli will gather this Saturday to remember him. They’re sharing this announcement to invite all those who knew him to be there:

Joseph A. Ceccarelli, longtime resident of West Seattle, died unexpectedly of pneumonia on May 7, 2014, at the age of 50. Joe had many friends in the community and will be missed. There will be a memorial service at Arbor Heights Community Church (10213 41st Ave SW) on Saturday, June 14th, at 2 pm.

(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Another West Seattle Emmy winner: 2 for Brian Callanan

June 9, 2014 at 11:05 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 7 Comments

After mentioning the Emmy Award won by “Diver Laura” James, we learned another West Seattleite was a winner at Saturday night’s Northwest Emmys event: Double congratulations go to two-Emmy-winner Brian Callanan from Seattle Channel, one for his program-hosting work there, one for Interactivity as part of the team for a SC show about the income-inequality issue (in which he says participants included Jack Miller from Husky Deli). The full list of Saturday night’s winners is here.

Congratulations! Emmy Award for ‘Diver Laura’ James

June 8, 2014 at 2:11 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 15 Comments

West Seattle advocate/activist/photographer/etc. “Diver Laura” James – who often shares amazing undersea views with us here – is now also Emmy Award-winning “Diver Laura”! Saturday night, when the Northwest regional Emmy Awards were presented, she won for her photography in a collaborative report about sea otters and climate change, produced for a consortium including KCTS 9 – the report was honored as best “health/science feature/segment.” (We had mentioned the nomination back in April.) Thanks to Laura for sharing photos, including her REAL reaction, compared to the onstage decorum:

Here’s the full list of winners.

West Seattle 8-year-old celebrates birthday by giving instead of receiving: You’re invited to the party

May 28, 2014 at 6:44 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 9 Comments

For the sixth year in a row, Lucas Engles-Klann of West Seattle is celebrating his birthday by raising money for animals … and he’s all of 8 years old. You’re invited to the party, this Sunday at Woodland Park Zoo – his mom Jen Engles-Klann shared the announcement:

The 6th annual Auction for Animals will be taking place on Sunday, June 1st at Woodland Park Zoo from 1 pm to 3 pm.

Auction for Animals was started by Lucas Engles-Klann in 2008 amidst plans for his 3rd birthday party. When asked how he wanted to celebrate, his reply was “I want to save all the animals,” and his annual fundraiser was born. The event has taken many different forms over the years, including benefit dinners, raffles, and auctions, and has raised over $15,000 to support the Woodland Park Zoo, the National Audubon Society, and Point Defiance Zoo. Money raised this year will go toward preservation of Woodland Park Zoo’s gorillas, snow leopards, and jaguars.


Special features at this year’s event will include a bake sale, games, a live auction (hosted by Lucas) for kids, and a silent auction for the grown-ups. Items up for grabs this year include unique pieces from local artists and amazing wines.


Now eight years old, Lucas’ passion for animal preservation has grown with him, and he now assumes much of the responsibility for planning and overseeing every aspect of the event. His excitement has not gone unnoticed – more than 150 people attended last year’s event and raised more than $3,200.

This years’ Auction for Animals event is free and open to the public (zoo admission is not required, but may be purchased separately) and will be held in the Education Center at the South (Hippo) Gate, 750 N 50th Street.

(In the photo, that’s Lucas presenting a check for last year’s proceeds to WPZ’s Sarah Valentine.)

Robinson Newspapers publisher Jerry Robinson dies at 94

May 27, 2014 at 9:00 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 13 Comments

Robinson Newspapers has announced the death of publisher Gerald “Jerry” Robinson, 94, of Burien. According to the company’s 1987 history book West Side Story, Mr. Robinson’s publishing career began in 1952, when he bought the White Center News; in the early ’70s, he took over the West Seattle Herald, subsequently merging it with the WC News, and then bought the Highline Times. He later acquired the Ballard News-Tribune, and his company last year combined the three print publications to create the Westside Weekly. Our photo at left is from 2009, when Mr. Robinson received the Community Service Award from the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce; accepting the award, he told Chamber members that he had tried to retire once, but felt “useless” when not working, because, he explained: “Nothing is as fulfilling” as being of service to others. Mr. Robinson continued to write weekly columns until recently. No memorial service has been announced yet; the online announcement says a detailed obituary is to be published later.

West Seattle filmmaker to screen award-winning ‘Find Your Way’

May 22, 2014 at 8:23 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

(Trailer for “Find Your Way”)
One week from tonight, West Seattle filmmaker Brian Nunes‘s documentary “Find Your Way” will have its Seattle premiere. It’s about buskers – street musicians, “some just trying their hand at busking for the first time and others who earn a full-time living from it.” Plus, says Nunes, it features “some well-known artists who’ve had experience playing on the street (including West Seattle resident Chris Ballew of The Presidents and world-renowned classical violinist Joshua Bell).” He adds that the film “on its surface is a street documentary about the struggles of making it in a world driven relentlessly by the allure of fame, but at its core is an examination of what it means to be successful ­- a topic we can all relate to.” Last month, “Find Your Way” won Best Documentary at the Houston International Film Festival. Next Thursday (May 29th), you can see it at 6:30 pm at the Jewelbox Theater, after a short live-music preshow with two performers from the film, and a short discussion post-screening. Nunes himself is a former busker. Admission is free but to make sure there’s room, go here to reserve a spot; the Jewelbox is at 2322 2nd Ave. in Belltown.

SW Historical Society updates: Lou Whittaker recalls ‘a heck of a ride’; West Seattle Bridge 30th-anniversary party ahead

May 20, 2014 at 2:51 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

(Video by Mark Jaroslaw)
Thanks to Clay Eals from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society for sharing video excerpts from Lou Whittaker‘s West Seattle High School appearance sharing memories from “A Life in the Mountains” (and screening the biographical documentary of the same name). As you’ll hear him observe at one point (or maybe you were there to hear him in person), “It has been a heck of a ride.” And it’s not over yet – he is going strong at 85. More than 100 people came to see and hear him. Read more about it on the SWSHS website.

NEXT UP FOR SWSHS – BRIDGE ANNIVERSARY AND MORE: So much is going on in June, it might take us until then to mention it all here. So instead – check out the right side of the organization’s home page for the latest on the totem-pole unveiling, the next “Words, Writers, West Seattle” author, and … a multi-modal celebration of the 30th anniversary of the high-rise West Seattle Bridge (dedicated July 14, 1984).

(Seattle Municipal Archives photo of The Bridge while it was being built)
According to the SWSHS website, it all starts a month in advance with a special exhibit at Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor). Read all about the bridge-i-versary plans here.

Congratulations! Local students honored with Alki Masonic Lodge’s 36th annual School Awards

May 20, 2014 at 11:11 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, West Seattle schools | 4 Comments

A ceremony last night at Alki Masonic Hall in The Junction honored the local students chosen for this year’s School Awards from Lodge #152, the 36th year the lodge has presented awards “in support of our public-school system.” Eight juniors from each of two schools were honored, four girls and four boys:

Above, the West Seattle High School honorees. Accompanied in our photo by principal Ruth Medsker, they are, in alphabetical order:

Megan Duong
Charli Elliott
Maxwell Eronimous
Holly Hinnant
Nathaniel Livingston
Isaac Peck
Edward Sander
Annalisa Ursino

And from Chief Sealth International High School, photographed with counselor Jol Raymond, the honorees are:

Olivia Boyd
Sophia Boyd
Mabel Hernandez Collazo
Kelsey Lawson
Aidan McMurray
Yael Pina
Simon Tweolde
Lincoln Vuong

The lodge also honored four selected students from the previous year’s honoree roster. From those four, Matthew Wo from CSIHS received a $1,000 scholarship:

The “2013 Top Boys and Girls” also included Sealth’s Eileen Lee and WSHS’s Megan Antalan and Michael Lee. Last night’s ceremony was emceed by Martin Monk of Lodge 152; he also is a member of the Education Council that coordinates the awards program, along with Gary Langenbach, John Bozeat, and Elmer Lindseth.

Memorial tomorrow for Robert E. Chaney, ‘true West Seattle guy’

May 15, 2014 at 8:53 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

A memorial service and celebration are planned tomorrow (Friday, May 16th) for Robert Edmund Chaney, whose family shares this remembrance:

Mr. Robert Edmund Chaney met his Pilot face to face on May 8th at 88.

Mr. Chaney was best known as a true West Seattle guy! He was the father to Liz Chaney (Trindade) and Carolyn Camille Chaney, both of whom graduated from West Seattle High! Mr. Chaney was a true neighbor and lived in the North Admiral district since 1966.

He worked at Husky Delicatessen for more than 20 years and has been a RE Broker for Century 21 for most of his career. As a Christian minister, award-winning poet & writer, he left a powerful legacy to his other two children, Christopher Chaney of Southern California and & Kimberly Condrin of Renton WA. He has five grandchildren, Cory & Taylor Condrin, Tatiana, Lorenzo & Romeu Trindade. Mr. Chaney was one of 11 children and for the very reason he loved to have a lot of people, friends and family around. Mr. Chaney was a loving husband to Beverly Chaney (former Talent Manager to Jim Caviezel and Brendan Frasier). Mr. Chaney, Bob, was also a host father to hundreds of exchange students for over 15 years. He attended University of Oregon and Stanford with degrees in Business & Political Science.

Memorial service at Tahoma National Cemetery on May 16th, 2:00 pm, 18600 SE 240th St., Kent. Memorial celebration at his home in West Seattle. If you would like to attend, contact his daughter, Liz Chaney Trindade by cell, 917 435 6455; text is OK.

(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Celebration of life next Saturday for ‘Roxy’ Fultz-Tovey, 1955-2014

May 12, 2014 at 8:29 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

A celebration of life for a woman known best as “Roxy” is planned this Saturday in Skyway. Shared by her family:

Roxanne (Roxy) Lee Fultz-Tovey passed away at age 58 in her home in Tacoma. She was born December 2, 1955, to the late Virgil Fultz and Gloria Bruce.

Roxy moved to West Seattle around 1975 after attending Western Washington University; she then went to dental hygienist school. Roxy made lots of lifelong friends during the 20 years she lived in West Seattle. After working as a dental hygienist for 5 years, she then went to work for the Boeing Company, where she finished out her working career, until 2009.

Roxy was married to Mark Tovey from 1994-2005 and has a stepdaughter, Erin Tovey of Spokane, who she loved very much. Roxanne is also survived by her grandmother Jessi Bruce of Tacoma, brother Bruce Fultz of Tacoma, brother Troy Hoffmaster of Hastings, Nebraska, nephew Coltn Hoffmaster of Port Townsend, aunt Virginia (Ginger) Steffenson of SeaTac, cousin Stacy Hardy of Moses Lake, and cousin Danay Mims of Enumclaw.

Celebration of life to be held Saturday, May 17th, 2:00 pm, at Skyway VFW, 7421 S. 126th St. Roxy’s favorite color was purple – it would be great if you have something purple to wear. Please make any memorial donations to the Lupus Foundation.

(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Congratulations! Dow Constantine becomes a dad

May 9, 2014 at 4:34 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 9 Comments

Just announced this afternoon on Twitter, King County Executive Dow Constantine and wife Shirley Carlson are parents:

Twitter limits you to 140 characters, but the new dad added this on his official Facebook page: “She’s 6 pounds, 7.3 ounces.”

West Seattle scene: Loyalty Day at VFW Post 2713

May 1, 2014 at 9:31 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

We’ve heard plenty about today being May Day … but it is also Loyalty Day, started in the USA as a counter-observance in 1921, and explained on this page of the VFW website. At noontime today, at VFW Post 2713 in The Triangle, Loyalty Day was commemorated with a gathering and ceremony presented by VFW Ladies Auxiliary District 2. Above, from left, are three West Seattleites who are among local leadership – past VFW Ladies Auxiliary District 2 Commander Linda Fairbank, Post 2713 Surgeon Bill Dwyer, and Post 2713 Adjutant Ray Fairbank – with District 2 president Barbara Heston-Moore, who sent word last night of today’s event, which also featured speakers and 27 flags:

By the way, you can follow Post 2713 on Twitter.

Memorial this afternoon for Pearl Phillips, 1924-2014

May 1, 2014 at 9:04 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 5 Comments

A memorial service is planned this afternoon for Pearl Phillips, whose family shares this remembrance:

Pearl Virginia (Niebanck) Phillips, 89, of Seattle passed away April 16. Daughter of Lillian Spamer and Frederick Niebanck, Pearl was born August 2, 1924, in Woodbridge, New Jersey.

Pearl grew up in New York City, but at the age of 16, her family drove cross-country to California. The experience opened her eyes to the natural beauty of the country, and once home, she resolved to return someday. Five years later, Pearl fulfilled that dream and moved to California, living with relatives while she worked in a defense plant during WWII. There, she met her future husband, Don, at an officer’s dance. A native of Washington state, he romanced her with tales of the beautiful Pacific Northwest, promising to buy her a flannel shirt, blue jeans and hiking boots. Three months later, they were married and headed to Washington, where Pearl lived the rest of her life.

Pearl was a city girl, Don a woodsman. Together they explored the forests of the Olympic Peninsula, often off-trail, Don hopping rocks across streams or walking logs over ravines while Pearl rode his shoulders.

Click to read the rest of Memorial this afternoon for Pearl Phillips, 1924-2014…

Followup: Motorcycle rider killed on Vashon Island was West Seattle entrepreneur Patrick Lajko

April 30, 2014 at 10:03 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 28 Comments

The motorcycle rider killed on Vashon Island last Saturday night – a crash noted here because of the investigators’ high-profile presence at the Fauntleroy ferry dock – was a West Seattle entrepreneur, 62-year-old Patrick Lajko. Thanks to Ian for pointing out the identification published by Vashon Beachcomber.com, which reports that Mr. Lajko founded and owned CDE Software. The Junction-based company is an industry leader for bowling software. A webpage that details the company’s many successes shows Mr. Lajko with his motorcycle. The King County Sheriff’s Office says he was on northbound Vashon Highway waiting to turn left when a Vashon Island woman driving a car hit him from behind.

Passing of the Golden Rake, and other ways neighbors paid tribute to Vern Christensen

April 27, 2014 at 3:43 pm | In Fairmount Springs, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 11 Comments

A memorable West Seattle neighbor named Vern Christensen is gone but not forgotten. Cindy Craig shared photos and the story of how neighbors and friends gathered to remember him a few rainy/sunny Sundays ago:

On Sunday, March 30, about 40 friends (several of them 4-legged) gathered at the traffic island at 40th Av. SW and SW Juneau to remember their good neighbor, Vern Christensen, who passed away on March 15.

Most days during the past 24 years if you drove by the grassy knoll there on the corner previously known as ‘Weed Island’ you were likely to see Vern taking his daily constitutional, keeping a benevolent eye on the neighborhood between Fauntleroy and California and Brandon and Morgan. If it was raining, you would probably see him clearing the storm drain with his trusty rake because the city had asked citizens to help. Long before the West Seattle Blog was the ‘go to’ source for any news in Fairmount Springs, Vern was who you thought to ask first.

Vern was a farm boy from Flasher, North Dakota, born during the Great Depression in 1932. He always seemed to embrace those rural values of knowing your neighbors and taking the time to stop and share a story. He knew what the value of community was and he would have been pleased to see the diverse group of people that he helped weave together gathering to celebrate our common thread at the newly renamed ‘Vern Island.’

A native currant was planted on the island in Vern’s honor, and the Golden Rake and its duty to keep the drain cleared was transferred to another resident of 40th Av. S.W., Vern’s close friend Paul Sureddin:

And for a little while on a rainy Sunday afternoon in March, the sun came out just long enough for Vern Christensen’s neighbors to take one more walk around Vern’s beloved Fairmount Springs and remember a man who reminded us every day in his unassuming way what it was to be part of a community.

We will miss him.

Congratulations! AAUW honors 4 Sealth, WSHS students

April 27, 2014 at 1:30 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 5 Comments

(Photo by Judy Waring)
Congratulations to the two West Seattle High School and two Chief Sealth International High School students shown above! Marilyn Mears explains their accomplishment:

Earlier this month, AAUW (American Association of University Women), Seattle Branch, honored girls from 9 Seattle area high schools for their achievement in the areas of Math, Science, and Technology. The four girls from West Seattle were (left to right in photo): Chief Sealth IHS: Nicole Carter (Science) and Thu Trinh (Math), and from West Seattle HS: Nafisa Ali (Science) and Noriel Sarquilla (Math).

AAUW promotes equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, research, and philanthropy. Our Seattle Branch held its 14th Annual Scholar Recognition Program on April 9th, recognizing senior girls from nine Seattle high schools for their achievement in the areas of Math, Science, and Technology. Dr. Deborah Jensen, President/CEO of Woodland Park Zoo was the guest speaker at the event. The Scholar Recognition Program is all about encouraging more young women to become interested in STEM careers by honoring their achievements to date with a goal of encouraging better representation of women in these fields in the future.

West Seattle Helpline celebrates 25 years, chooses new executive director

April 21, 2014 at 11:43 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

Much to celebrate tonight at the West Seattle Helpline Founders’ Day Dinner. In honor of the emergency-assistance agency’s 25th anniversary, founders, supporters, and current leaders gathered for dinner at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor) – among them, Kate Stannard, just chosen as WS Helpline’s ninth executive director, who paused for a photo with board president Brooks Riendl:

A thumbnail history of the Helpline notes that its inspiration started with the late Queen Anne Thriftway owner Dick Rhodes starting the Queen Anne Helpline in the 1980s, and wanting to do something similar in West Seattle when he opened Admiral Thriftway a few years later. The three organizers of the first planning meeting – Maureen Hersholt, Gregg Hersholt, and Phil Talmadge – were among the 20-plus guests at tonight’s dinner.

P.S. Here’s how you can help the Helpline and its thousands of clients – buy tickets to its ultra-popular, ultra-tasty fundraiser Taste of West Seattle, coming up May 15th.

Remembering Ethel Eyrse, 1914-2014, who lived ‘with great wit and curiosity’

April 18, 2014 at 10:51 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 6 Comments

The family of 99-year-old Ethel Eyrse, who spent the final fourth of her life here, shares this remembrance:

Ethel Louise (Boyer) Eyrse passed away on April 9, 2014. She was born in Saidora, IL on Dec. 2, 1914, to Harry and Elsie Boyer. Ethel moved to Pekin, IL in her teens and, after graduating from Pekin High School, worked at the Pekin Finance Company. She married Fred Eyrse on Aug. 2, 1936.

Ethel was an active volunteer at the Pekin Hospital League, holding many chairs including League President, and started the Nearly Nu Shop which over the years has raised thousands of dollars for the hospital. She moved to Seattle in 1997, following the death of Fred. She lived her 99-plus years with great wit and curiosity about life.

Always independent, Ethel was able to stay in her own apartment in West Seattle with a view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains and was as sharp as a tack to the end. A bit of her wit was shared online by her granddaughter, Shanna, through the website Upload Your Grandma.

Ethel is survived by her son, Steven Eyrse of Pekin, daughter Cinda (Eyrse) Christie of Seattle, three grandchildren, Shanna Christie, Severn Eyrse and Margaret Lanphier, and two great-grandchildren, Severn Eyrse Jr. and Hazel Lanphier. She will be greatly missed.

There will be a celebration of Ethel’s life at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations could be made in her name to the Pekin Hospital League, 600 South 13th Street, Pekin, IL 61554.

(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Undies with a twist: West Seattle women crowdfund for BoiBums

April 16, 2014 at 11:22 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 11 Comments

“We are excited to share our vision with like-minded women who want a
comfortable alternative to girly women’s underwear,” say Betsy Bruce and Dana Joy – both longtime West Seattleites – as they launch a crowdfunding campaign for their creation: Underwear called BoiBums. They’re trying to raise money to manufacture “a product for women using the same soft fabrics, comfortable cut, and wide-waistband used in men’s underwear.” (Briefs, not boxers.) And the sizing range will be robust – briefs in sizes up to the equivalent of 3XL. You can watch Dana and Betsy’s sassy pitch video on the Kickstarter page for BoiBums. In crowdfunding tradition, they’re offering rewards to donors, all detailed on that page. And if the underwear business goes well, they’re expecting to expand into other – perhaps, more visible – lines of apparel.

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